Sunday, February 12, 2017

Still More on Guns and Mental Illness

The issue with mental illness and guns is so hard to explain to people. While there have been mass shooters with mental illness, in very few cases does the "mental illness" serve to explain what happened, and statistically, you should be much more worried about being killed by your spouse, the car next to you on the highway, that extra pain pill you take (especially if you take it with a sleeping pill or a drink), than you ever should be about a mentally ill mass shooter in a public place. Where the numbers of gun deaths rise is when you mix guns with substance abuse, especially in people prone to violence, anger, and impulsive actions; suicide (where people sometimes take action within minutes of making a now-irreversible decision); or accidental deaths where people are careless (which may be higher in people with cognitive problems or who are abusing substances). 

I had an editorial on a proposed repeal of a gun law this week, and the Chicago Tribune wrote on the same issue. Note their emphasis on mass shootings (none of which pertained to this ruling as none of the shooters received Social Security Disability Payments) and it didn't explain why someone would be on disability and might need a payee. Mine was not about violence but about common sense. Obviously I like mine better, but compare and see what you think, same issue, different arguments:

If someone has a mental illness severe enough that he cannot work or manage his own money, should he be allowed to own a gun?|By Editorial Board

Friday, February 10, 2017

Assorted Frustrations, Plus a Book and TV Series Review

I've been finding the world to be a frustrating place, and when I'm frustrated, I write.  It could be worse.  I've written a lot this week.  

First I'll send you to a commentary piece I wrote for the Wall Street Journal asking the Senate not to repeal a ruling that prohibits those who are both disabled by chronic, severe, mental illnesses and are unable to manage their finances (often because they are cognitively impaired or have poor judgement.  I would not have concocted nor supported this original ruling under the Obama administration because I don't think mental illness and gun legislation mix, but given that it exists, it's a pretty low bar.  But mostly, I hate that the NRA has the power that it does in our country and that tens of thousands of people die from firearms each year. See: Don't Repeal Obama's Modest Gun Limit.  
If you need to get around the paywall, try going through our Facebook page to the Link:

For a bit of a break, I reviewed Patrick Kennedy's wonderful memoir A Common Struggle, in the same article with the dark comedy Showtime TV series, Nurse Jackie -- an odd combination, but they are both about addiction.  See Nurse Jackie and Patrick Kennedy.

And finally, I want to rant about using jails INSTEAD of medical facilities for psychiatric patients.  I'm containing my outrage (or perhaps I'm not), but when we hear about correctional facilities being the biggest providers of psychiatric care in this country, we do assume that the people that are being housed there have either committed a crime or are suspected of committing one with pending charges.  Read my short article on Psychology Today about own hospital in South Dakota now sends their overflow psychiatric patients to the local jail.  These are not people who have committed any crime.  In what alternate universe is this okay?   So much for controlling my outrage.

 And while I'm ranting about this, please see Pete Earley's blog about a man who stole $5 worth of candy then spent 101 days in jail waiting for a bed at a state hospital.  His jail term ended when he starved to death his jail cell.  We can do so much better.  

Thanks for listening. 

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Breaking Heroin's Grip: a documentary by Maryland's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Breaking Heroin’s Grip: 

Road to Recovery

Airing Saturday, February 11 at 7pm

Breaking Heroin's Grip: LaurenBreaking Heroin's Grip: 
Road to Recovery is a
poignant and personal
 documentary shedding
 light on our region’s
pressing heroin problem.

 Told through the lens of adults that have
 experienced heroin’s grip first-hand, viewers
will get an authentic look inside the complexities
 of this harrowing epidemic.

The program includes a 40-minute documentary
followed by a 20-minute live phone bank offering
viewers expert information about treatment. The
documentary is produced by Maryland Public
 Television in partnership with the
Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The program will be simulcast by numerous broadcasters
 (both TV and radio) in Maryland, as well as surrounding states.

WBAL-TV / Baltimore, MD Channel 11
WBAL-AM / Baltimore, MD Channel 1090
WJZ-TV / Baltimore, MD Channel 13
WYPR-FM / Baltimore, MD Channel 88.1
WMAR-TV / Baltimore, MD Channel 2
WJZ-FM / Baltimore, MD Channel 105.7
WNUV-TV / Baltimore, MD Channel 54
WLIF-FM / Baltimore, MD Channel 101.9
WRDE-TV / Lewes, DE Channel Comcast 9, 209, 809,
       Direct TV and Dish Network 31, Over The Air 31.1
WOLB-AM / Baltimore, MD Channel 1010
WHAG-TV / Hagerstown, MD Channel 25
WWMX-FM / Baltimore, MD Channel 106.5
WMDT-TV / Salisbury, MD Channel 47
WHFC-FM / Bel Air, MD Channel 91.1
WHUT-TV / Washington, DC Channel 32
WJEJ-AM / Hagerstown, MD Channel 1240
WUSA-TV / Washington, DC Channel 9
WPTX-AM / Lexington Park, MD Channel 1690
WITF-TV / Harrisburg, PA Channel Digital: 36 (UHF)
       Virtual: 33 (PSIP)
WITF-FM / Harrisburg, PA Channel 89.5
WTHU-AM / Thurmont, MD Channel 1450
WMPH-FM / Wilmington, DE Channel 91.7
WKHS-FM / Worton, MD Channel 90.5
WRNR-FM / Annapolis, MD Channel 103.1
WOL-AM / Washington, DC Channel 1450
WNAV-AM /Annapolis, MD Channel 1430
WPRS-FM / Washington, DC Channel 104.1